Improving restaurant quality could help boost Britain's high streets

Improving restaurant quality could help boost Britain's high streets

Improving restaurant quality could help boost Britain's high streets

Investing in improving the quality and variety of our high street restaurants could help to give the declining British high street a much-needed boost, according to a new study.

The high street has been slowly in decline for several years now, and May saw the steepest drop in high street footfall in two years. In contrast, year-on-year hospitality spending has been steadily increasing.

With more than half (51%) of under 34-year-olds admitting they currently prefer to shop online, attracting customers back to the high street is a key concern of retailers. The findings from the study suggest that restaurants may be the way to do this, with almost one-third (29%) of respondents agreeing that improving the quality of restaurants would serve to improve their local high street.

The survey, co-commissioned by Schroder UK Real Estate Fund and Legal & General Capital, interviewed more than 2,000 UK residents and found that improved food and leisure facilities would attract more people to the British high street. With a selection of quality restaurants to choose from, people are more likely to be drawn to the experience that comes along with a shopping excursion, rather than indulging in the convenience of online retail.

Henry Pickering, a representative from Schroder UK, commented: "The results demonstrate that online shopping is more frequent in younger adults but a good mix of experiences, such as F&B and leisure, can help draw shoppers to their town centre."

In March, our own research uncovered similar verdicts, with evidence that some retail centres were attracting guests as destinations for eating out, as well as shopping. It's not a one-sided arrangement either; the higher footfall and increased dwell time on the high streets mean this is a mutually beneficial scenario for restaurant and retail operators.

Previous research from Raymond Blanc's Brasserie Blanc has offered some suggestions on how high street food chains can improve their offerings to be more appealing to guests, uncovering that 74% of diners aged between 18 and 34 would like restaurant chains to be more 'inspiring' and 'daring' with their food.

With an increase in restaurant quality, it might be possible to breathe new life into the town centre shopping experience again - after all, as two very social activities, the industries are natural allies.

Schroder UK Real Estate and Legal & General Capital plan to invest £768m into the regeneration of Bracknell Forest Borough. The development is set to include a retail, leisure and restaurant area called The Lexicon Bracknell.

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